By Larry Austeen -
Many people like to drink light beers because they really believe that they can get some “health benefits” by drinking a beer with lower level of calories. Some people even drink light beers because they like the flavor and lightness.
It’s worth to look at how some light beers are made. A lot of breweries add enzymes, generally resulting from fungi to support the breaking down of unfermentable dextrins that would typically remain in the finished beer. Tweaking, mashing procedures, fermenting at high temperatures, and targeting for high original gravities are other techniques that are often followed in combination. To boot, the most of the big breweries also add aides like rice and corn to their beers. Rice and corn are actually low-cost compared to malt and they also have greatly fermentable yields. For example Budweiser is supposed to have 30% rice in it.
Much of the malt flavor and aroma in finished beer is caused by these dextrins, however in the case of light beer, during the fermentation yeast converts sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide, which also uses energy/calories to convert. Light beer brewers need to break down these unfermentable carbohydrates as much as possible because they will add approximately about 4 calories per gram. Now you are left with alcohol and its calories, basically a malt liquor or a strong tasteless beer. In fact, beer gets most of its calories from alcohol, roughly about 7 calories per gram.
So how do they eliminate all the calories from the alcohol? A lot of light brewers, depending on the particular brewing technique, will then mix the beer with water to get a chosen gravity and at the end it will result in fewer calories in the beer.
In fact, most of light beers have been watered down. Although they have only marginally less amount of alcohol, the carbohydrates have been reduced way over 50% in some cases. But quite unfortunately, during the process they also lose their flavor, aroma and body as a consequence. And, as the alcohol level is only marginally less, the general calorie variance between a regular beer and a light beer is almost not worth bothering about. That’s because beer gets most of its calories from alcohol.
So what is the actual benefit you can get from light beers? Well, it is more or less a marketing trick. What you attain in form of fewer calories you sacrifice in a big way with flavor, aroma and body. It’s true that carbohydrates get converted to fat, but this only take place when your body transforms carbohydrates into glucose and glycogen which is stocked in your liver and muscles and runs out of use for, or space to stock, it. The level of carbohydrates in beer is very minor besides they are good carbohydrates, which mean they are not derived from fat, and simple carbohydrates that your body can break down fast into energy.
Some people do not want to sacrifice taste for a difference of small amount of calories that you can burn off in a ten minutes’ walk. So they ignore watered down light beers and follow their desire for taste. Some others are really concerned with the amount of calories they gain by drinking beer and they want to be watchful.
About the Author
Larry Austeen is the PR manager at Micro Beer Club. It is well known company for Australian Beers and they are number of Beer club in Melbourne. There are different promotions going on every month for Beer Club members and lot of gift giving opportunity as well.